Up to 2 miles, and little or no gradient
- Around the camp site. At the downstream bridge near the village shop, walk towards Keswick and, after about 50 metres, take the path to the right of the first house.
- Via Little Braithwaite. At the further end of the camp site (see easy walk 1), cross a stile and carry on across the wooden bridge to Little Braithwaite farm. At the little road there, either turn right up a short, steep hill to return via the road – be careful with the traffic – or turn left and join the footpath to the left at the bridge. Where the footpath meets the A66, turn back left for Braithwaite.
- Into the Newlands Valley. At Little Braithwaite (see easy walk 2), turn left, and then right at the bridge to walk along the Newlands Beck (which lengthens the walk by about 45 minutes but, this being the most beautiful pastoral valley in England, the views are well worth it); cross the beck at the first bridge, eventually turning right along the metalled road above Uzzicar Farm. After about 300 yards take the path climbing gradually to the left above the wood, which lands you at Braithwaite Lodge farm and thence back to the village. Or you can do the walk in reverse. See the list of medium walks for longer walks in the valley.
- To Thornthwaite. Go across the bridge, turn left up the road to Whinlatter and, at the first right bend, go right at a kissing gate marked as a public footpath. Keep to the left of the youth centre ahead, and follow the path through the woods. Thornthwaite has an artists’ gallery which is worth a visit (don’t go on Tuesdays, because it will be shut). You can return either the same way or by the small tarmac road in the valley, which emerges at the Royal Oak.
- Via Spring Bank. This starts as if going to Thornthwaite (walk 4 above) except that one passes to the right of the youth centre past the kissing gate. Just follow the track, which is likely to be muddy in parts, round to the right until it hits the lane, where you turn back to the Royal Oak. The more energetic can race up Braithwaite How, to the right of the path.
- Coledale Beck. You can follow the beck upstream, by walking up the back of the Methodist Church just up from the bridge. Not far up is a little pool, suitable for swimming and absolute paradise for all dogs after a long day’s walk in the fells. There you can choose to stay on the left of the beck, which turns out to be a pretty walk over rocks and, probably, some puddles – so you need the right footwear. Or, 100 yards before the pool, you can cross the wooden bridge to emerge on the Whinlatter road, where you soon branch left for the gravelled track to the Mine: flat and two miles long, giving you a good view of the whole Coledale valley and the fells at its head. You turn back when you’ve had enough.
- Derwentwater (west). Having parked in Portinscale, you can walk down the road to Nichol End and then take the lakeside path through the woods past Lingholm, which is where Beatrix Potter spent many summer holidays when writing her children’s stories. The path drops down to the Hawes End and Brandelhow launch stops (Brandelhow was the very first piece of land acquired by the National Trust about a hundred years ago), then it follows the lakeside down to the southern end of the lake and then across to the Lodore launch stop, to return to Nichol End by boat. If this is too far to walk (about 3 miles), just stop at any of the intermediate launch stops to return by boat.
- Around Buttermere. You can park the car either in Buttermere village or at Gatesgarth, at the eastern end of the lake. The walk is a simple circuit of the lake, about 4 miles in total, and is often combined with a car excursion around the district – and an ice-cream at Gatesgarth and/or Buttermere.
- Castlehead. This is a good way to spend the time after taking someone who wants to go shopping into Keswick, which usually seems to take at least an hour. Take the Borrowdale road out of town and, after about 200 yards, turn left up into the woods. Follow any of the many paths up to the top of Castlehead, admire the view, and then drop down in an easterly direction to reach an exit from the wood across the fields to Springs Road. Turn left on Springs Road, and left again to reach the centre of Keswick.
- Keswick to Great Wood. In Keswick, walk down to the Theatre by the Lake, where you can turn right into the park for a marvellous view straight down Derwentwater. Return to the theatre, then walk down to the boat landing stages and onwards to Friar’s Crag. Follow round the edge of the lake, through the woods to Calf Close Bay, where you have a choice: for a quick return, take the path on the lake side of the Borrowdale Road, past Castlehead back to Keswick. Or (longer and steeper), cross the road into Great Wood, cutting up left past the car park and eventually out of the woods onto the fields above the TV mast. Turn left down past the mast, through Springs Farm onto Springs Road and thence into Keswick.
By Peter Rigg for braithwaite-cottage.co.uk
Photo by Andrew Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8534685